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Counting the cost of safe surfing

Paid-for website service promises to keep content safe for kids

Keeping children safe from inappropriate content when they surf the net is a worry for parents, but E4easy.com has a solution.

The company has launched a way for kids to create their own websites which are free from ads or links, so once they are online they can't drift from their site. The service, which is called Massive4kids.com, is aimed a children aged from eight to 13.

The idea is that children access their sites using a password. Once logged on they'll find the usual address toolbar, where URLs are normally typed in, has been removed, so there is no danger of kids straying from the site.

Creating a website is a matter of clicking on the various sections and adding photographs and information — no HTML knowledge is required. The site allows a child to create a personal portfolio which is divided into various sections such as 'About Me and My News', 'Family Fun', 'My Pets or Top Toys' and 'Hobbies and Interests'. Children can then invite their friends to visit the website by letting them know their password.

The service claims sites are 100 percent safe, but there is nothing to prevent children from publishing their personal email and home addresses online, although guidelines do caution against this.

Users have to subscribe to the service annually, at a cost of £52. This entitles you to three website addresses so other members of the family can have their own sites too.

Terry Howell, operations director at E4easy.com, says, “It’s getting kids involved in the internet in a safe place.”

But this relatively expensive service doesn't really offer safe surfing, as it doesn't provide access to the web as a whole. If you want to let you children access all the useful and educational content found online, you would be better off opting for McAfee's much cheaper Privacy service, which restricts children's access to approved sites of even one of the free web filtering services.

You can use your site to raise money for charity or deserving causes, by encouraging your friends and family to sign up for a Massive4kids website. For every new customer who registers via a fund raisers' website, 40 percent of their subscription will be donated to the cause supported.

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